Every couple has concerns - and we hope the article from Andrew Body, below, will help you resolve your issues as a couple. However, if you are experiencing abuse please jump straight to our article on domestic abuse here. Help lines are at the end of the article.
Some people now in their later years will remember the refrain in Mrs Dale’s Diary – ‘I’m worried about Jim’. Worry can be two opposite things – a positive sign of love and concern for someone, or a negative and debilitating thing which can sap energy and happiness. Both reflect verses from the New Testament. Paul wrote to the Galatians ‘Bear one another’s burdens’ and to the Philippians ‘Do not worry about anything’.
Those who marry under the delusion that Dame Julian of Norwich’s words ‘All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well’ are going to be true of their years together need to come down to earth. No one can have a lifetime together without causes for worry – whether for themselves or others. Our own and our partner’s health, finances and job stresses are quite enough. But we probably have to add worries about aging parents, friends going through bad times, to say nothing of concerns for any children we may have, however old they may be.
It may sound trite to say ‘a trouble shared is a trouble halved’ – but there is truth in it. The debilitating effects of worry are much less if we are not worrying alone. When Paul said ‘Don’t worry’ he followed it up with telling his readers to bring all their worries to God. We are never alone with our stresses. Learning to manage stress is much healthier than pretending it doesn’t exist.
If we are not concerned about people, then we are neither very Christian, nor very human. But to allow concern to paralyse us isn’t very Christian either. Reinhold Niebuhr was helpful on this with his well-known prayer which goes: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.’
Mothers’ Union is very grateful to the author of Growing Together: A guide for couples getting married Andrew Body, for kindly writing this article for our website.